How to Experience Tech in San Francisco
The Bay Area is a technological hub. Companies and technologies that develop here go on to shape the world and change the ways we live. Visitors often wonder how they can experience this incredible innovation for themselves when they visit. Here are 8 great ways you can experience tech in San Francisco.
Audium (1616 Bush St.)
Any description of Audium doesn’t do justice to what you will experience in the theater. The program is designed to explore the boundaries of space from within music.
As part of the audience, you will be plunged into total darkness while composers perform their creations. Featuring 176 speakers that are strategically placed and calibrated to deliver the artists’ vision, the theater itself is constructed to maximize the total experience. Audium is the only theater of its kind in the world, placing it squarely on the must-do list for every Bay Area visitor.
The theater seats 49 patrons, and each performance lasts 75 minutes. They are held every Friday and Saturday at 8:15 p.m., as well as some Thursdays and Sundays. Tickets are available online for $20, and you should plan to arrive approximately 15 minutes before showtime.
Creator (680 Folsom St.)
You might plan a visit to Creator for a look at the future of restaurant technology; but once you try a robot-assembled burger, you'll want to come back again and again. By any measure, the food at this popular eatery is second-to-none. You get the sort of quality you would expect from a fine dining establishment at fast-casual prices.
Creator accomplishes this culinary magic by automating the burger preparation process from start to finish. That reduces costs, and savings are invested in higher-caliber ingredients. In addition, Creator’s robots have a level of dexterity that can’t be matched by human hands. Measurements are impossibly precise, so every sandwich is consistent perfection.
Creator is open Monday to Friday from 11a.m to 2 p.m. There is often a wait, so it’s wise to arrive a bit early.
You haven’t seen San Francisco like this. The Flyer - San Francisco is an immersive thrill ride that uses the most advanced theme park technology available to give you a birds-eye view of the city. Drone footage and CGI work together to offer a unique experience, complete with never-before-seen perspectives of the city's main attractions.
Note that riders must be at least 40 inches tall and weigh no more than 300 pounds to participate. “Flights” take off every 15 minutes from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and you can purchase tickets online at a discounted price. Expect the experience to last about 20 minutes, including the pre-ride presentation.
One of the most difficult things about visiting a new city is an issue that no one talks about: where do you go when you need to use the restroom? Access to clean, safe public bathrooms is a must to truly enjoy any adventure. Fortunately, when you are in the Bay Area, there is a high-tech solution to this low-tech problem. The Good2Go app directs you to the nearest partner restroom, where you pay a small fee to “go” in comfort.
The app works by enrolling retail partners across the city who boast the latest in hands-free bathroom technology. These include coffee shops, cafes, and grocery stores who otherwise have a customers-only policy. With a Good2Go membership, the entire process is handled right through your mobile device. You locate the nearest option and add your name to the waitlist for particularly popular spots. You can even unlock automatic doors using smart technology, so you don’t have to wait for a staff member to provide access.
Good2Go restrooms are always wheel-chair accessible and equipped with baby-changing stations. They are also available to patrons of all genders. Depending on the length of your stay, you have the choice of a single-use pass, a day pass, or a monthly membership. Part of the proceeds from the fees you pay are used to support non-profit Lava Mae, which provides showers and restrooms for the city’s unhoused residents.
Good2Go is available through iOS and Android app stores. You can learn more at Good2Go.com.
Museum of 3D Illusions (55-61 Jefferson St.)
Social media has transformed the art of travel photography from average to extraordinary. While some still take traditional shots standing in front of popular attractions, the pressure is on to find new ways to capture your travel adventures. When you visit the Museum of 3D Illusions, you'll cement your place in the social media hierarchy for good.
Every inch of the Museum is dedicated to art that is designed to engage your senses. Exhibits are interactive, and you are encouraged to explore alternative perspectives. There are plenty of opportunities to capture your experience in photos, so you can share the excitement of San Francisco tech with friends and family.
The Museum is open Sunday - Friday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Tickets are available online for $25, with discounts for children and groups.
Target Open House (115 Fourth St.)
The Internet of Things (IoT) is the next step in the integration of lifestyle and technology. Everything from appliances to security is getting internet connectivity, making it possible to run your home remotely.
Target Open House showcases the very latest in smart home products. As soon as you enter the acrylic model residence, you are transported to a world that once only existed in science fiction. The transparent surfaces give you a clear view of how robots and artificial intelligence combine to make it easier to manage your home.
Target Open House is currently undergoing renovations, and it is expected to reopen in the spring of 2020. Check the website before you visit to be sure you aren’t disappointed.
"Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI" at the de Young Museum (50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Dr.)
The rise of AI technology has created an existential conundrum. If machines are starting to think and reason, what’s left to make humans unique? The de Young Museum is taking on that very question with the "Uncanny Valley" exhibition. In this space, artists explore the human experience in a world driven by data.
You will see sculptures that illustrate the relationship between natural and artificial intelligence, as well as installations that depend on human interaction to properly display. Some artists have chosen to examine the impact of a data-driven economy in humanitarian and ecological terms, and others have focused on calling out the myth that artificial intelligence is neutral and objective.
In today’s digital world, just about everyone is exposed to AI on some level, and that trend is rapidly growing. "Uncanny Valley" offers you alternative perspectives on the AI revolution.
"Uncanny Valley" will be on display from Feb. 22 to Oct. 25, and admission is included with your museum entrance fee. The de Young Museum is open Tuesday–Sunday, from 9:30 am to 5:15 pm. Tickets are available online for $15, with free admission for visitors age 17 and under. Students and seniors enjoy discounted ticket prices.
Some of the world’s technological leaders call the Bay Area home. Unicorn Tech Tours is an opportunity to see the city’s can’t-miss technology attractions at your own pace. The app-driven, self-guided tour transforms the streets into a living tech museum.
The app will point out the nearest locations of interest to tech buffs no matter where you are in the city, and it will take you to the best spots for Bay Area tech selfies. The Unicorn Tech Tours app is currently available through iTunes, and it is free for a limited time. Download today and get started on your tour of the technological innovators who are changing the world.